While booking stopovers is an age-old travel trick for expanding vacations and saving on airfare, the way it’s currently done is still relatively antiquated…until Airwander. Our Airwander review aims to find out how this flight search engine makes booking stopovers a breeze.
What is Airwander?
Why head directly to your destination when you can hop to multiple cities before your arrival?
Stopovers are a Peripatetic’s wet dream, and those with itchy feet never take a shortcut!
Airwander touts itself as a completely free ‘combination flight metasearch engine’ that focuses on adding multi-day stopovers.
The website uses advanced algorithms to suggest various stopovers for your flight. Airwander factors in all routes possible and the best flight deals when you book any flight.
The service was created by globetrotters Douglas Deming and Ela Bader, who found inspiration in their 8-month South American backpacking trip.
On this journey, the duo stacked on additional countries to their itinerary to save money on airfare. Since then, the partners have taken advantage of stopovers on their flights and eventually became flight hacking experts.
With the use of spreadsheets and lots of time-consuming combination guessing, Douglas and Ela arrived at a conclusion: cost-effective use of stopovers required AI and machine learning.
This led the duo to develop an automated system in December 2016 that we now know as Airwander.
How does a stopover differ from a layover?
Before moving forward with our Airwander review, it’s essential to get acquainted with a few flight terms to help you better understand what the service has to offer.
First off, what exactly is a stopover, and how does a stopover differ from a layover?
A layover is when you stop at a connecting city before your final destination for less than 24 hours.
Stopovers, on the other hand, are stops that last for 24 hours or more.
So what does this mean for a traveler?
While some travelers want to get to their destination as fast as possible, others aim for a slower approach, exploring a few countries or cities in between. Since a stopover lasts for more than 24 hours, it offers more freedom to explore connecting cities than a layover.
If you’ve always wanted to visit a landmark, take a tour, or hang out with a friend or family from another country, taking advantage of stopovers is the best way to do it.
Why are stopovers a better choice compared to booking separate tickets to multiple destinations?
Read our Airwander review to find out.
See Related: Ways to Book the Cheapest First Class Flights
What are the benefits of stopovers?
Apart from the freedom of exploring two or more cities, booking a stopover flight has several other benefits. Our Airwander review lists them out:
1. Visit cities for free or little cost
The most apparent reason for booking a stopover flight is the savings you’ll make.
Since connecting flights are often cheaper than their direct counterparts, buying a flight with a long layover or stopover is often more affordable or at least equal to the price of a regular return.
The discounts can be even deeper when you book two connecting flights with different airlines.
Imagine adding a city to your itinerary whilst simultaneously lowering the airfare for your flight.
That’s like hitting two birds with one stone!
In cases where stopover flights aren’t cheaper, they’re sometimes only a few dollars more expensive than a regular fare – just think; that’s potentially a few dollars more for a few days in a city you’ve never been to that you’re dying to explore!
If you’re wondering, “Are there safety lockers for luggage at layovers Airwander?” Know that most airports have a luggage service where you can store your bags for a fee.
Make sure to get in touch with the airport before your trip to know if they offer this service and how much it costs.
2. Break up a long and arduous flight
Long flights can be stressful, uncomfortable, and exhausting for some travelers, so it makes sense to break them up into several more comfortable legs.
This is especially true for seniors, who have various health issues they need to keep in check.
Families traveling with restless children are also more likely to welcome stopovers, as they offer a momentary release of pent-up energy!
How a stopover is booked pre-Airwander
To fully appreciate the convenience of Airwander, our Airwander review will walk you through how stopover flights are booked traditionally.
Booking through various airline websites
The most convenient way of booking free stopovers is to book through airline websites. Several airlines offer free stopovers via their Airline Stopover Program.
For example, Icelandair offers free stopovers in Reykjavik before heading to other destinations in Europe. To make booking stopovers easier, an ‘Icelandair Stopover’ button is included when you book flights online via their website.
With its ‘Dubai Stopover package’, Emirates allows travelers to take a short break from their journey with stopovers in Dubai. Apart from arranging your transfers and hotel accommodations for you, you can also add tours to your experience, including desert safaris, dinner cruises, theme parks, and more.
Where this stopover booking method falls short: Not all airlines offering stopovers advertise their stopover flights, and even if they do, you’re bound to miss some of them. In addition, visiting airline websites one by one when you’re planning a multi-city itinerary can be time-consuming.
Booking stopovers manually
While some airlines have dedicated stopover booking buttons on their website flight tool, they aren’t universal across all airlines’ websites.
This is the time travelers have to handle their stopover bookings manually using an Airwander alternative.
One of the most popular ways to do so is to utilize flight aggregators like Skyscanner and take advantage of their multi-city search functionality. The steps to take are as follows:
- Search flights for your round trip.
Using the flight aggregator, search the round-trip flight you plan to take. Be on the lookout for flights with stops before reaching your final destination. These connecting cities are where you’ll be able to book stopovers.
- Search for a multi-city ticket
After listing down the possible stopover destinations, you’ll have to add them into a multi-city search manually.
With the website’s multiple destination tool, search for three flights: from your home city to the connecting city, from your connecting city to your destination city, and lastly, a return flight to your home city.
When doing this method, you’re bound to come across flights that are the exact same cost as round-trip flights with no stopovers. In other cases, you may even find multi-city flights that are cheaper than direct flights.
Where this stopover booking method falls short: Searching for stopover flights this way can be painfully time-consuming.
In addition, you’ll need to sift through tons of results just to arrive at destinations you want with prices you can afford.
Having to crosscheck prices with direct flights to see if you’re grabbing a discount or overspending requires a lot of effort as well.
How does Airwander work?
And now we reach our Airwander review!
How does this flight search engine make searching for stopover flights more convenient?
For starters, Airwander is a flight search tool that utilizes advanced algorithms to help you plan the best multi-city adventure. This means that you’re offered the best prices for the most efficient flights to destinations you want to visit. It’s great for travelers looking to save!
Airwander is a pretty straightforward search engine, and its beauty lies in its simplicity. Here are Airwander’s most notable features:
Clean and easy to use interface
Flight search engines don’t have to be complicated to produce the best results. Airwander’s clutter-free user interface makes it incredibly easy to use, even for travelers who have never used a flight aggregator before.
Airwander shows you a comprehensive list of stopover destinations
Among Airwander reviews I’ve read online, this is the site’s most favored feature. Sometimes, all we want is the bonus of exploring a new city – any city – for an affordable price.
This is where Airwander comes in. With the website’s search engine, travelers can indicate how many extra days they would like to add to explore a connecting city.
Afterward, Airwander produces results of places they can stopover.
This is a brilliant tool for travelers who aren’t location-sensitive, just want to explore, or make the most bang for their buck.
For example, after indicating my flight from Seattle to Toronto, a list of Airwander flights appeared with suggestions of stopovers at Los Angeles, Calgary, and Las Vegas, among others.
Quickly see how much you’re saving
With Airwander, travelers get to see how much each destination takes away or adds to their airfare. If you’re on a budget, this is a great way to find free stopovers worldwide or select destinations that don’t add a considerable amount to your airfare.
After indicating my flight from Seattle to Tokyo, Airwander showed me how much a standard flight would cost ($1,206) and suggested several destinations I can stop over for three days.
Making a stopover at Los Angeles would skim off $259 from the airfare while adding Denver would cost only an additional $8.
Seeing a list of stopover destinations along with their accompanying prices like this makes stopover booking much easier and more appealing!
How to use Airwander
So how do you use this flight aggregator?
Our Airwander review will spell out the steps required to book free or cheap stopovers to your flight.
1. Select your type of trip
A search box on the homepage immediately greets website visitors. Filling up this tiny space is the only effort the service requires from you.
First, select the type of trip you’ll take. You’ll be given four options: one-way, roundtrip, multi-city, or world-tour.
2. Select your cabin seat option
The price of your airfare depends on your cabin seat option, so select accordingly. There are four options here: economy, premium eco, business, and first-class. Select one according to your preferences.
3. Indicate how many are flying
Like other flight search engines, Airwander requires you to include how many are flying. Indicate the number of adults, children, or “lap infants” in the dropdown menu provided.
4. Indicate your departure and arrival city, country, or airport
Input your flight details on the boxes provided, along with the date of departure or arrival.
5. Click search and browse results
Upon clicking the search button, a list of possible flights will appear along with their corresponding prices. Click the red ‘+’ button and a list of possible stopovers will appear for your chosen flight.
You can also use the ‘Select your stopover’ search box to find a specific destination. Amounts preceded by a plus sign indicate an increase to your standard fare while those with a negative sign indicate a discount.
You can add or deduct days to your stopover by ticking the ‘+’ or ‘-’ button on the upper right-hand corner of the window.
The fares will change automatically to reflect the number of stopover days.
6. Use filters to fine-tune your results
Airwander allows you to adjust your flight leg searches by adjusting the price, take-off time, airport, airline, stops, landing times, and layover and flight leg duration.
See Related: Hotel Tonight Review
Who is Airwander for?
Airwander is for anyone who loves to travel, but it’s a specially attractive service for two types of travelers: those who are always on the lookout for flight deals and those who love exploring new places by adding stopovers to their flights.
If you have the flexibility in your travel schedule to sneak in a few days exploring a destination, Airwander is for you.
Airwander’s search engine is designed so that travelers are offered the most cost-effective suggestions of where to stopover, instead of travelers searching for a stopover destination they want.
This is not to say that you can’t deliberately select a stopover to specific destinations — while this is still an option, expect to pay an expensive fare if they’re not included in the initial results.
With this in mind, the service is geared towards more spontaneous travelers who won’t shy away from visiting a random place.
Keep in mind: while spontaneity is embraced in the world of travel, not having travel insurance isn’t. Make sure you’re covered! It’s better to have and not need, than need and not have!
Is Airwander legit?
Is Airwander reliable? Our Airwander review will give you the short answer: yes. Airwander is entirely legit.
The number of reputable travel publications and blogs that report on the service’s effectiveness is formidable confirmation.
The flight search engine has been thoroughly reviewed by TechCrunch, Travel + Leisure, Yahoo! Finance, and Real Simple.
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Ease of Use9.0/10
Value for Money9.0/10
- User-Friendly Interface
- Cabin Seat Option
- Uses Filters for Better Results
- Accessible to Anyone Who Loves Traveling
- Offers Budget-Friendly Flights
- Expensive During Certain Occasions
- Occasional Website Slow Loading
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Find Cheap Flights
Use Skyscanner to find flight deals. As my personal favorite flight search engine, Skyscanner scours websites and airlines across the globe, leaving no stone unturned to help you find the best deal possible. And if you really want to take your savings to new heights, pair Skyscanner with Going (Formerly Scott's Cheap Flights). With access to exclusive mistake fares delivered straight to your inbox, you'll be packing your bags and jetting off on your next adventure before you know it.
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